Air traffic controller schedules resulting in fatigue, report says

Air traffic controller schedules resulting in fatigue, report says
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Work schedules set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are leading to fatigue among air traffic controllers, according to an unreleased study, reported Monday by the Associated Press. 

The study, which was conducted for the FAA by NASA in 2011, found that air traffic controllers suffer from "chronic fatigue" that has resulted in flight navigation errors, like allowing airplanes to fly too closely together, according to the report. 

Sixty percent of air traffic controllers reported falling asleep or losing focus while driving on the way to overnight shifts that typically last from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., according to a report on the study, which was not publicly released by the FAA. 

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Another 20 percent of air traffic controllers reported committing "significant errors" that they attributed to being tired, according to the report. 

The reported study was conducted at a time when the FAA was in the middle of a series of embarrassing reports about air traffic controllers either sleeping on the job or not being responsive to airplanes in 2011. 

The string of incidents resulted in FAA officials adding an hour to the length of time air traffic controllers must be off the job between shifts and ending single-person overnight shifts. 

Two air traffic controllers were fired and several others were suspended during the incidents.